Personal Growth begins with Permission


Normally, when we think of permission we think of permission slips for school. But, I want us to think of permission for our own personal growth. 

It’s a must!

When I was in elementary school, there was no more exciting of a day than when I brought home a permission slip for a field trip for my mom or dad to sign.

It meant time away from the classroom and the opportunity to visit the Bronx Zoo, Mystic Seaport, Sturbridge Village, The Statue of Liberty, The Museum of Natural History, or the planetarium at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center.

When I think about it now, these signatures on a slip of paper represented the opportunity to pause from day-to-day, take a break, explore, and learn something new—permission to unlock my growth mindset and explore my curiosity. 

As I thought more about it, I introduced the idea of permission slips into discussions with my clients.

I asked them the following question: 

What permission would you grant yourself to achieve the personal growth results you are working towards?

Creating permission for personal growth

I am not going to say that the question resonated with everyone; but a few people were intrigued by the idea and were open to exploring an exercise.

I asked them to…

  1. think about things that were getting in their way of achieving the growth results they were seeking.
  2. think about what they could be doing or the shifts in their mindsets that needed to happen to take positive action.
  3. write or type up a permission slip, sign it and refer to it to stay focused.

This need not be overly complicated; one of my clients has post-its stuck to their monitor that read:

I give myself permission to _______________.

Others have been a bit more specific as to their commitment to time.

Over the next three hours, days or months I give myself permission to ______________.

Like all new habits building a rhythm and sticking to it takes time.

But, on the other hand, old habits and patterns are hard to break, so I suggest you:

Give yourself permission to try writing permission slips for personal growth and give yourself a break when you make a mistake.

The idea in practice.

I will share that not only do I have clients shifting into a permission slip mindset, but I am also finding it helpful. Here are some examples of personal growth permission slips we have found useful. 

I permit myself to:

  • Not answer every email I receive within an hour or after 6 pm
  • Make time for exercise every day
  • Be more present with friends, family, and co-workers
  • Ask for feedback from my team or manager
  • Express opinions and points of view in meetings when I have meaningful things to say
  • Say no to taking on more work when my plate is full
  • Raise my hand to take on new projects in the spirit of growth
  • Set aside time to build my professional network
  • Seek out mentors and learning opportunities to help me grow
  • Take risks and accept both positive and negative outcomes as opportunities to learn
  • Challenge myself to be more empathetic and be a better listener
  • Not take myself too seriously
  • Set realistic deadlines and expectations for myself and others.
  • Feel a bit uncomfortable when trying new approaches

As for me, in recent weeks, my personal growth has been giving myself permission to slow down and reprioritize my goals and commitments for the next three months.

I have also committed to refocusing on my photography and given myself permission to learn new techniques and take more time with my post-processing. 

I am pleased with the results; I have created time to coach, continue to build my practice, and I have over 1200 images from New Mexico and a plan to work through them and sharpen my skills.

Call to Action

Personal Growth begins with permitting yourself to move forward in this area.

What are you not doing today?

Is there something you want to start doing to make your life more joyful or your job more satisfying? 

As you write your permission slips, please share them in the comments section or send them to me

Perhaps you are ready to permit yourself to experience coaching. If so, please let me know.


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